Living and working in the United States is unlike living and working in any other country around the world. Depending on their education, skill level, and experience, workers in America are generally free to pursue a career in any field they desire and can climb higher in that field in the U.S. than they can in any other place. That’s a big reason why the world’s top talent often immigrates to the United States.
In many cases, the way that workers from around the globe establish a foothold in America is courtesy of a U.S. employer’s job offer and the PERM labor certification process.
What Is PERM?
The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) system is part of the process for securing labor certification, which is the first step to getting an employment-based immigrant visa. The PERM system involves several parties, including the immigrant’s U.S. employer, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The basics of the PERM system include the following:
- Employer files the labor certification application
- DOL confirms that approving the certification will not negatively affect the job opportunities, labor conditions, or wages of U.S. workers
- The approved labor certification is sent to the USCIS as part of the next step of the immigration authorization process
The above is a basic outline of the PERM labor certification process, but there are additional details that anyone planning to pursue an employment-based immigrant visa should know. We explore those details below.
What Are the Steps of the Labor Certification Process?
Completing the PERM labor certification process is no easy task. That is saying something since labor certification is just the first step that must be completed for a foreign worker to secure an employment-based immigrant visa.
The steps of the PERM labor certification process are:
- Job/Job Offer – In some cases, the foreign worker will already be using a temporary work visa to work for the U.S. company that they will remain with if their permanent employment visa is approved. In other situations, the foreign national is still in their native country working for the company in a remote capacity or at one of the employer’s overseas facilities. Finally, there are instances where the worker is not yet employed by the company but pursuing a job opening with the employer.
- Sponsorship – If the employer is interested in having the foreign worker come live in the U.S. and work for them, they will need to go through the process of sponsoring the worker’s employment-based visa application.
- Labor Certification Application – The employer, not the employee (or prospective employee), will be the one that submits the documentation necessary to begin the PERM labor certification process.
- Job Advertisement/Interviews – After submitting the application to the Department of Labor, the employer must advertise the job position they want the foreign worker to fill to U.S. citizens. In addition, if suitable candidates who are U.S. citizens arise, they must interview them. This step enables the DOL to ensure that allowing a foreign national to fill the job opening is not taking a job opportunity away from a U.S. citizen. It is the DOL’s duty to protect the job interests of U.S. citizens above all.
- Application Approval – If no qualified or suitable U.S. citizen can be found to fill the position, and all other necessary criteria are met, the DOL will likely approve the labor certification application. From there, the approved labor certification will be forwarded to the USCIS to begin the next step in the immigration authorization process.
Need Help with PERM Labor Certification? Speak with Our Experienced Immigration Lawyers Today!
At Guerra Sáenz, PL, our immigration attorneys are immigrants themselves. They know what’s it’s like to have to fight to stay in this country and they know what it takes to turn that dream into a reality. Our legal team has over 15 years of experience and have handled more than 1,000 cases. Our team also includes an attorney who is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law.
Bottom line, our qualifications are second to none, but more importantly, immigration law is all we do. It’s our passion and we are very good at it. Part of the reason for that is that we know what it’s like to go through the immigration process ourselves. That drives us to work harder than a lot of our competitors, because we’ve been there, and we know what’s at stake. When you choose our immigration law firm to represent you, you can rest assured that you have a legal team on your side who will explore every legal option available to get the job done.